February 11, 2011


Fading Fitness Motivation?
THIS is why (and how to change it)…

2011 B.Y.E. eBook

The 2011 Best Year Ever eBook

In the 11 for ’11 eBook I introduced the concept of finding your Motivational SPACE as a way to stay on track towards your goals in 2011. In short, SPACE stands for:

Sociability: We are more motivated to do things when we are with other people – especially with people we like.

Progress: We are more motivated when we see we are making progress. “Seeing” the progress doesn’t always have to be visible – it can be numerical or somewhat subjective. But it does have to be tangible to us.

Accountability: We are more motivated when we are held accountable to someone or something. Even the most self-motivated person will be derailed from time to time by distractions. Accountability is rope that keeps pulling us forward.

Competitiveness: Competition, when done right, makes us better. Proper competition pushes us outside of our comfort zone and forces us to grow.

Enjoyment: We are more motivated by things that we find enjoyable. Kinda makes sense, right?

Please note that each of these components are unique individually, but there are almost always multiple factors at play in our motivational tendencies.

Also, part of the reason for the timing of this article (and to put it bluntly) is this winter has stunk (weather-wise). Cold temps, seemingly constant snow and very little sun has left me feeling like I’m stuck somewhere between an old black-and-white movie and a Charles Dicken’s novel. And there doesn’t seem to be a definitive end in sight.

For many, this is where motivation gets derailed and this is where we need to use our minds. Our minds can be our greatest asset or our own worst enemy. Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right. And in times like this, where the monotony of life and weather can make bright colors seem dull and flavorful food seem bland, we need to CREATE ways to stay motivated in our everyday lives.

My challenge to you is this:

Take 10-15 minutes out of your schedule this weekend, find a quiet spot, sloooooow down and think. What is an area of your life that is important where you are struggling to stay motivated? What are ways you can use the Motivational SPACE to keep you on track towards your goal?

Use these parting shots to help spur some thought. Examples are not just for fitness – they can be applicable to all areas of life.

Sociability:

Feeling like you’re alone in something often detracts motivation. Do you have people around that you can include for social motivation? For example, even if you don’t necessarily “like” working out, can you involve other people to make it more social? Maybe this is a time to catch up with old friends…chat, gossip, laugh, etc., and get fit in the process. A win-win for everyone.

Progress:

Which method of progress is important to you? Numbers, visuals, feelings, or something else? We lose motivation when we think we are doing the same thing over and over and seeing no results. Determine your progress indicator and stick to it. Don’t be afraid of it. It’s sooooo much easier to stay motivated when we know we’re improving.

Accountability:

Who can hold you accountable to stay motivated? Friend? Family member? Spouse? Coworker? Coach? Trainer? Tell them what you’re doing and ask them to hold you accountable. You’d be surprised how willing people are to help if you just take the first step. It may even motivate them to do the same!

If you’d rather be held accountable to some thing, try post-it notes – they are great for self-accountability. Put them everywhere you need a reminder. If you’ve vowed to eat better in 2011, put one on your freezer so every time you reach for the ice cream, you’ll see it. If you want to get more sleep, put one on your TV or computer so you’re reminded of it. I’ll leave it up to you as to what the post-it notes say. It’s individual. Let it speak to you.

Competition:

If you’re an “athlete” (or former athlete), is there someone else you can compete against to increase motivation? I use the term athlete because athletes tend to be more competitive against other people than non-athletes. How can you create friendly competition amongst others?

If you’re a “non-athlete”, how could you create a competition against yourself? What would this look like to you? Make sure you clearly define what would constitute a win, and a loss, and decide how you’ll reward yourself when you win!

Enjoyment:

What do you find enjoyable? Much of your enjoyment comes from the senses – seeing, feeling, hearing, tasting, touching, and smelling. How can you use the senses to increase your motivation?

  • Example: If I hear a song on the radio I like I will automatically plug it into my iPod. I will do my best to not listen to it again until it’s time for a workout. Then, when I really don’t feeling like working out, knowing I’ll get to hear a song I like gets me out the door and gets me going. You could also allow yourself to have your favorite snack only while you’re working on a project you really don’t want to do. Be creative!

All the best to you as February winds down and you continue on your Best Year Ever. Stay tuned in March for the next 11 for ’11 tip!

Scott Welle: Creating Healthy Habits and Limitless Lives